The Closer

Season 1 Episode 2

About Face

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jun 20, 2005 on TNT
out of 10
User Rating
263 votes

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Episode Summary

Rated: TV-14-LV

Brenda and the team must investigate the murder of high-profile model Heather Kingsley, who dies as a result of nicotine poisoning, applied to her scalp via her hair conditioner. Suspicion quickly falls on her movie-star husband, Dean, whose philandering ways and false claims of a pre-nuptual agreement make him the likely killer. As Brenda investigates, she is drawn into the world of celebrity beauty, where illusion is everything, and the standard high. When she undergoes a make-over to meet the Dean’s discarded lovers one-by-one, each of whom appears to have a motive to murder, Brenda realizes there may be more to this case than a man trying to get out of a marriage. At the same time, she is slowly seduced by the superficial glamour, which seems to impress her colleagues, and Fritz. As the real killer emerges, Brenda comes to the realization that she can only be who she is, and that the rest is just an illusion.moreless

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  • the look of la...

    So I was glad to see the forensics/autopsy was more accurate then other shows. They were wearing masks and safety glasses and all. And the doctor did mention that the toxicology results would take almost a month (way more real then the five minutes of other crime shows). I have never seen a head shaved to open the skull, but it was good for a one-liner so I guess that will over look it. I loved the fact that Brenda Lee was always getting lost driving in Los Angeles. I also thought it was funny when she went to get the make-up and realized how much all of that stuff costs, but bought it when she was complimented on her looks.moreless
  • The artifice of the beauty and entertainment industries lead to murder.

    If anyone doubts this episode draws on the mythic side of LA, the establishing shot of the Hollywood sign should dispell any doubts. When a famous model, married to an equally famous movie star is murdered, Brenda and her team dig deeply into the money, and artifice, generated by those who surround such famous figures. Along the way, Brenda has a clever make-over that demonstrates how seductive the "beauty biz" can be, and discovers behind the artifice, human nature can be ugly.

    Perhaps the cleverest part of the episode occurs near the beginning, as Brenda struggles to navigate Mulholland Drive, a challenge for the uninitiated, with that most iconic of LA survival tools, a Thomas Guide, all set to Johnny Cash's great old song "All I Do Is Drive." She soon meets up with another symbol of the celebrity side of LA, a phalanx of reporters covering the murder she must investigate, and her initiation to LA celebrity policing begins.

    "About Face" takes a sometimes humorous, often unvarnished, and surprisingly honest look at the differing standards the entertainment industry feels is its due, and how that impacts the LAPD's ability to do its job. It also recognizes the contortions the LAPD must go through to work around, and despite, the celebrity-hungry media present in LA. In the process, the episode takes a poke at its own industry without making the LAPD look like their stooges in the process. A tip of the hat all around!

  • Brenda trying to find her way around LA

    Great show as usual and keeps getting better & better

    Brenda is trying to find her way around LA and also trying to get better acquanited with her new job

    Despite resentment from the mostly dominated "boys club" to the higher ups

    Though I like JK Simmons as her new boss trying to show her the ropes as well as trying to get her to calm down a bit.
  • Brenda is calles to a crime scene of a hollywood wife who died from poison in the hair. At first it seems like an accident,but Brenda thinks differently. As the case unravels, so do secrets...moreless

    This is personally my favorite episode of the first season (season two almost here!) It kept me in suspense, but reminded me alot of a t.v. movie-like style with all the secrets about her unfaithful husband and whose plot was also too t.v movie like. But belive me, its a great episode!
  • Covers the basics: getting lost in a new town and the fact that most of the higher-ups are out to sabotage and destroy her career.

    There was a lot to be learned in this episode.

    For one thing, Los Angeles has too many Mullholland Drive extensions.

    For another, it seems we haven't heard the last of the vindictive Capt. Taylor.

    And then there was the breakthrough makeover...

    Where to begin?

    Let's start with the domestic problems.

    Capt. Taylor has made it no secret that he wants Brenda to fail--miserably--and take over his perceived "rightful post" as head of the PHD. It's as transparent as a sheet of $.02 plastic wrap. So why does he bother to "pretend" to help her by sending in Det. Flynn when things start to look bad for the PHD? So he can plant a friendly sabotuer in Brenda's ranks.

    Unfortunately for Capt. Taylor and Det. Flynn, there's a problem: Brenda's onto their scheme.

    But as fun as it is to single out Capt. Taylor

    for the problems Brenda's having, she does need to listen to Pope and start reigning in her troops---even if they are the inexperienced rejects from Capt. Taylor and Lt. Provenza. She may find her people are more apt to follow her than she (or anyone else, for that matter) thinks.

    Now about that makeover...she was stunning, wasn't she? And while it was expensive, and time-consuming, and so un-Brenda-like, it was the key to solving her murder case....the one so many people hoped she'd fail to do. Kudos to Lt. Provenza for staking his claim and using his skills to uncover that bit of evidence, and to Sgt. Gabriel for standing with Brenda even when no one else would.

    As for Mullholland Drive....let's hope Brenda never, ever had to drive there for a crime scene again. God forbid.

J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons

Assistant Police Chief Will Pope

Corey Reynolds

Corey Reynolds

Sgt. David Gabriel

Robert Gossett

Robert Gossett

Capt. Russell Taylor

G.W. Bailey

G.W. Bailey

Detective Lt. Louis Provenza

Tony Denison

Tony Denison

Detective Lt. Andy Flynn

Jon Tenney

Jon Tenney

FBI Special Agent Fritz Howard

Rachel Boston

Rachel Boston

Jennifer, Hairstylist

Guest Star

Kate Norby

Kate Norby

Lindsay Hagan

Guest Star

Natalija Nogulich

Natalija Nogulich

Kingsley's Lawyer

Guest Star

Gina Ravera

Gina Ravera

Detective Irene Daniels

Recurring Role

Raymond Cruz

Raymond Cruz

Detective Julio Sanchez

Recurring Role

James Avery (I)

James Avery (I)

Dr. Crippen, Medical Examiner

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Goof: When Brenda first walks into the victims home, you can see the map in her purse. When she enters the bedroom she puts her purse down and you can still see the map. Then Provenza takes it out as a sort of practical joke but when Brenda leaves the bedroom the map is back in her purse. But later when she leaves the house the map is gone.

    • This is the second episode where there is mention of Sgt. Gabriel having a Master's degree from USC. USC is the University of Southern California, a private university located south of downtown Los Angeles in a largely African-American community, and famously, where O. J. Simpson played college football.

    • Among the deadliest poisons, a 40–60 mg oral dose of nicotine can be lethal for adult human beings. Nicotine is a water and fat soluable poison, which can be transmitted through the skin in toxic amounts when dissolved in an alkaline solution, such as hair conditioner.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Jennifer: (about to do Brenda's hair) How about a little color?
      Brenda: For a funeral?
      Jennifer: It's not that unusual. You'd be surprised the number of women out here who go absolutely platinum with grief.

    • (Deleted Scene)
      (Fritz enters a restaurant and tells the waitress he's meeting someone, then enters the bar. Brenda spies him and sits up straighter, smiling. He looks at her, smiles and nods, and keeps walking.)
      Brenda: Fritz! Fritzy!
      Fritz: (Turns around, looking at her, then suddenly realizes it's Brenda) Brenda?! Oh, my God. I didn't, look fantastic.
      Brenda: Thanks. (They hug.) Thanks. Heh. (She picks up her purse and they begin walking to their table.) What did I look like before?

    • Sgt. Gabriel: When you handcuff Dean Kingsley and put him in the back seat of your car, you're going to have helicopters, news vans and millions of television viewers, all escorting you back here to Parker Center.
      Brenda: So?
      Sgt. Gabriel: So, are you absolutely sure you can, by yourself, drive back here without getting lost?
      (Brenda hesitates, then hands over her car keys)
      Sgt. Gabriel: Thank you. Thank you. I know that was very difficult for you, but thank you.

    • Brenda: (complaining to Pope) I was promised a crew of elite detectives, and what Capt. Taylor here has given me is a bunch of junior varsity wannabees ...and Provenza.

    • Brenda: The Constitution entitles you to a lawyer, Mr. Kingsley, not a firm.

    • Brenda: (To Chief Pope) Look, I have another issue I have to discuss with you. The Priority Murder Squad got its stationery yesterday, and I just got a look at it this morning (Brenda holds up a note pad showing the initials P.M.S. for "Priority Murder Squad").

    • Brenda (to Fritz): I can't make the pieces fit together in this case and every other street in the hills is called Mulholland somethin'.

    • Fritz: I thought you had a driver.
      Brenda: Oh, I did. But I got mad at him and now I'm late everywhere.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Czech Republic: January 9, 2007 on Prima

    • The subtext for this episode is about reality and artifice. Brenda turns herself into something she's not in order to get closer to the key players and understand the reasoning behind the murder. But at the same time, her transformation serves as a metaphor for her professional life: should she take on the artificial role of political animal, or be who she is and trust that will bring he squad around in time? Meanwhile, the episode draws parallels between Dean's former lovers who continue to work for Heather, which angers Brenda, and her own situation with Will, which she doesn't see - until Fritz points it out.

    • At the beginning of the episode, we see Brenda struggling to find her way to the scene of the crime along Mulholland Drive. For someone new to LA, this wouldn't be surprising. Mulholland Drive runs from Cahuenga Blvd. near Universal City Studios over the ridge of the Hollywood Hills and Santa Monica Mountains, past several famous canyon roads lined with exclusive homes, including Laurel, Benedict and Coldwater Canyons. At Topanga Canyon Blvd., its name changes to Mulholland Highway. From there it winds 22 miles until it meet the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

      Mulholland Drive was named for William Mulholland, an Irish engineer who developed the LA Aqueduct and Owens Valley Project in the 1920's, bringing water to LA from the Owens Valley. The scandal that surrounded the project was fictionalized in the movie Chinatown.

    • As Brenda struggles to find her way down Mulholland Drive, we see her using a map book. Later, Provenza removes it from her bag and shows it to Gabriel, and they share a laugh. The map book is the LA County Thomas Guide, so commonly used to navigate around LA that many businesses and agencies include the map page and map grid location in directions to a site.

      The Thomas Guide was family owned and published in the LA area from the 1940's until its 1999 purchase by Rand-MacNally. Guides are printed by county, and updated annually. The company also produces custom wall maps; one can be seen in the room where the detectives monitor the interrogation rooms.

    • The episode opens with an aerial view of the Hollywood sign. The Hollywood sign was built in 1923 to mark the location of a real estate development and originally said HOLLYWOODLAND. Allowed to fall into disrepair after the developers went bankrupt in 1939, the letters LAND were removed in 1948. After several abortive efforts, the sign was finally restored in the late 70's. Now a cultural and historic landmark, ongoing preservation efforts maintain this most famous symbol of Los Angeles.

    • Music: "All I Do Is Drive," Johnny Cash


    • Dr. Crippen, the medical examiner, has the same surname as a famous American murderer, Dr. Hawley H. Crippen, who was found guilty of the grisly murder of his wife, Cora, in London in the early 20th century.

    • Taylor: ...the media is parked in his driveway 'til 11:30 every night.

      This quote, as well as Gabriel's entreaty that Brenda not go alone to arrest Kingsley unless she can be sure she won't get lost returning to Parker Center highlight the challenges the broadcast media alone present the LAPD and other Los Angeles area law enforcement. With three network-owned television stations, two network-affiliated independents, three network owned/affiliated Spanish-language stations, and two independent television stations, all with news divisions, as well as major bureaus for national news channels such as CNN, LA has high saturation broadcast news coverage, and the broadcast media are endlessly fascinated with celebrity news. It's not unusual to see seven or eight news vans parked in front of a celebrity home, and as many helicopters circling the site of the latest high-profile case until late at night. 11:30 pm is the watershed hour when they pack up for the night, after the last late news broadcasts end.